Artist Envisions Bay Bridge Cables As A Canvas For Light

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Fundraising has began for a public art installation that would turn the suspension cables on the Western Span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge into a sculpture of light.

“The cables that hold up the deck of the bridge actually make a pretty interesting canvas,” said Randy Rentschler of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

KCBS’ Margie Shafer Reports:

Private money will finance the work of installing and maintaining 25,000 white LED nodes on the cables that will light up in patterns determined by traffic, weather and the often imperceptible motion of the bridge itself.

The grid of lights that will make up “Bay Lights” was designed by artist Leo Villareal, who has created similar displays at the National Gallery in Washington DC and at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago.

The display would go up in 2013, when the new Eastern Span of the Bay Bridge opens and the America’s Cup yacht race is set to take place on the bay. The installation would last for two years.

Transportation officials said the two year run would be part of an extended celebration of the Bay Bridge’s 75th anniversary. It opened in 1937.

The Bay area Toll Authority on Wednesday announced it would be the lead environmental sponsor of “Bay Lights” in order to get the project cleared so private funds can be raised.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

More from Margie Shafer
  • SF’s Bay Bridge to Become LED Light Sculpture | Elemental LED

    […] Pretty soon, the iconic San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge could become more than just a way to get from point A to Point B; it could also encompass a giant, public LED art installation. Designed by Bay Area LED artist Leo Villareal (whose mesmerizing color-changing LED artworks have graced this blog before), and supported by hundreds of private, governmental and non profit organizations, the project would see 25,000 LED nodes installed on the suspension cables that span the western portion of the bridge. Fundraising for “Bay Lights” has already begun. If successful, the piece will go up in 2013 and remain up for two years as an extended celebration of the bridge’s 75-year anniversary. Once installed, the project’s associated LED light controller will illuminate the LED lights in patterns based on ever changing traffic, weather and wind conditions. “The cables that hold up the deck of the bridge actually make a pretty interesting canvas,” Randy Rentschler of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission told CBS San Francisco. […]

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